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Self-efficacy is defined as "one's perceived capabilities for learning or performing actions at designated levels" (Schunk & Mullen, 2012, p. 220), and has been shown to account for up to 25 percent of the variance in academic achievement (Multon et al., 1991; Schunk & Pajares, 2009). The development and influence of self-efficacy on the academic achievement of first-generation college students has received relatively little attention in the literature. Implementing a case study approach, this study intended to understand how self-efficacy has developed and influenced the academic success of high-achieving first-generation college students. Data for this study came from two separate in-depth interviews with 16 high-achieving college seniors enrolled in the honors program at a four-year Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI). Findings from the study were consistent with the core tenets of self-efficacy. In the study, participants' self-efficacy development was largely driven by positive mastery/lived experiences before and during college. Vicarious/modeled experiences and social/verbal persuasion also played a role in forming participants' sense of capability, albeit not as consistently as lived/mastery experiences. In terms of influence, the lived/mastery experiences participants identified were largely positive and more consistently influential than positive or negative vicarious/modeled experiences and/or social/verbal persuasion. Based on findings from the study, implications for practice and directions for future research are offered.
College motivation, First generation college students, Hispanic college students, Honors college students, Latino college students, Self-efficacy
Date of Defense
April 29, 2015.
A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in partial fulfillment of the Doctor of Education.
Includes bibliographical references.
Kathy Guthrie, Professor Directing Dissertation; Kathryn Tillman, University Representative; Tamara Bertrand Jones, Committee Member; Lara Perez-Felkner, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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